In finearts, stories


By Aviva Chernick.

Six years ago I had a conversation with Rabbi Splansky, which continues to enrich my life to today.

An invitation to bring music for a Friday night Rabbi’s tisch, has grown into a monthly service which now boasts a dedicated ensemble of six award winning World and Indie music artists, a specially developed repertoire of songs for prayer and, most importantly, a unique community of participants of all ages and diverse backgrounds who gather together to bring in Shabbat.

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What is Shabbat Fusion? Shabbat Fusion is what happens when the tones of a Persian lute meet the twang of a mandolin and when Ashkenazy melodies weave with Sephardic-influenced compositions for new Jewish music.

Shabbat Fusion is the blending of many voices joined in song and prayer to greet the Sabbath Bride.

The ensemble is Mark Weinstock, Aaron Lightstone, Jeffrey Wilson, Ernie Tollar and Sundar Viswanathan. Over the past six years, I have had the pleasure of creating music together with these musicians and developing it further with our Shabbat Fusion community and congregations throughout Toronto and across North America.

Together with these musicians and others, I have now completed arranging and recording a nine-song album of this devotional music to be released at a concert December 5th. This is a celebration not only for me and the musicians with whom I collaborate, but also for you, for our community, which has been integral in nurturing a contemporary, Canadian Jewish musical voice.

Keep your ears open as an arrangement of Bo’i Kalah (with the ensemble Jaffa Road), one of the songs first shared at Shabbat Fusion, has been heard playing on CBC radio. We did that together.

So, why not mark the last Friday night of every month from now until June (except for December) in your calendar. Plan to come for 6:20 to hear the musical meditation and to stay after for a sushi Kiddush.

I hope you will join Rabbi Thomashow, the Shabbat Fusion ensemble, our very special community and me as we continue to grow in this adventure.

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